What is an MRE?
MRE stands for Meal, Ready-to-Eat. They are meant to be self-contained packages that can sustain a solider when food service facilities are not available. There are twenty-four different varieties of military MRE meals; they contain an entrée and a variety of other food items like spices, cheese spread, peanut butter, snacks, and in some cases food heaters.
Should preppers buy MRE Meals for there emergency food supplies?
Over the years, stockpiling military supplies has become a growing trend with preppers. While stocking up on MREs may seem like a quick and easy way to grow your emergency food supplies, there are a number of reasons that you may be better off buying civilian MREs instead of their U.S. military counterpart.
Why Civilian MREs are a better option:
- The commercial sale of Civilian MRE is not restricted like military MREs.
- You can buy from legitimate dealers, not eBay sellers who may be selling you old or fake MRE.
Knowing Exactly where your Ready to Eat Meals came from: We have heard of some military MRE that have sat in war zones for months or years before making their way on to eBay. Who wants to eat something that’s been lying around in the desert for the last year? Even the best MRE are going to be affected by the harsh heat of the desert.
The U.S. Army’s NATIC Research Laboratories have done numerous tests on the shelf life of MREs. They found that when exposed to heat over 100 degrees they lasted less than two years while MRE stored at around 70 degrees were good for at least 100 months.
Knowing what’s on them: A lot of crazy stuff happens in war zones, including the use of some pretty nasty chemicals that can stick to everything. I don’t know about you, but after seeing all the people come back from Iraq with mysterious illnesses during Desert Storm, I tend to think that eating something that’s been sitting over there may not be so safe.
Quality Issues: The quality of everything the military gets is usually dependent on how some special interest group who won a no-bid contract for that item. In fact, the quality of a lot of equipment and military gear has gotten so bad over the years that many service members have been forced to buy their own gear. The sad truth is the government treats the military like crap. I just don’t trust them enough to believe that the MRE are any better than the civilian version. Civilian MRE companies have to worry about lawsuits from unsafe products; the military doesn’t.
Counterfeit MRE: Much of what you find online is complete garbage, and many of the so-called military MRE that are sold online are actually bad counterfeits from China. Personally, I wouldn’t trust someone on eBay or some thrown together website with my emergency food supplies!
What’s in Military MRES?
The average military MRE gives the soldier an average of 1,300 calories. For instance, a Chili with Beans MRE is about 1,291 calories (36 Grams of protein, 83 percent fat, and 177 Grams of carbohydrates) and about half of the Military Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamins and minerals.
What about real Military MREs: How long do they last?
If you’ve ever bought military MREs, you’ve probably noticed they don’t contain traditional expiration dates. This can make trying to figure out shelf life a little tricky. Most of the time you can determine the manufactured date by looking for a series of numbers on the package. The first looking at the first number represents the last number of the year it was packaged.
As long as your MRE supplies are not damaged in any way (swelling, punctured, ripped, etc…) then they should last for quite awhile.
The Army’s Natick Research Laboratories tests indicate that MRE from the early 80′s and 90′s stored below 60 degrees have a shelf life of about 130 months. The newer MRE now have a significantly shorter shelf life and will last for about 60 months at 60 degrees – this is what happens when cronyism takes the place of actually carrying about the quality of our military’s supplies. Any fluctuation in storage temperature can and will affect the shelf life of your MRE. For instance, the same MRE stored at 100 degrees has a shelf life of about 6 months.
Where to Buy the Top Civilian MRE products:
- Sure-Pak MRE’s – These are one of the Top MRE on the market and probably the closest to actual military MRE
- Mountain House #10 Can Freeze-Dried Food
- Wise Company Emergency Food Rations
- 2400 Calorie ER Bar – Emergency Food Ration (4 Pack)
- Mainstay Emergency Food Rations – Case of 10 Packs